Thursday, July 29, 2010

Calendar

I was thinking about the calendar recently. Specifically, I was wondering why different months have differing amounts of days: 28, 29, 30, or 31. No, that's not quite it. What I mean is: Why do we STILL have differing amounts of days? In the olden days (whatever THAT means) the calendar was used to keep track of agricultural milestones, taxes, mythological festivals, and other stuff that we don't care about anymore. The calendar got all juggled around, with politicians moving days and months around, renaming things on a whim, etc. It's now a mess. So let's start from scratch.

Since all calendars have names (e.g. Gregorian, Julian), I think I'll name this one the Paulian Calendar. No special reason.

There about 365 days in a year. Let's call it 360 plus 5, because 360 is a nicer number to work with.

We can divide 360 by 12 months to get 30 days per month. Now every month will have the same number of days.

There are 7 days in a week, but the numbers 7 and 30 don't play well together. Instead, let's make it 6 days in a week. Each month would have 5 weeks of 6 days each. Which day of the week should we omit? How about Wednesday, since it's not pronounced at all like it's spelled.

Notice that each month has exactly 5 weeks, with no days left over. This means that each month starts on the same day of the week. I nominate Monday for that honor, since we all think of Monday as the start of the work week anyway, and the weekend would now be at the end of the week, where it belongs.

That takes care of 360 days, but what about the 5 days that we set aside? Let's call those the Extra Days and consider those to be outside the calendar altogether. We won't even name them Monday, Tuesday, etc., we'll just number them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We'll stick them between Sunday December 30 and Monday January 1. People could use them for anything they want: cleaning the house, making snowmen (in the northern hemisphere), going to the beach (in the southern hemisphere), backing up their computers, catching up on a good book, attending various bacchanalias, etc.

What about leap years? Currently, we add a day to the end of February. In the Paulian Calendar, we'll add a day to the Extra Days to make six altogether.

One byproduct of this calendar is more time off from work. In our current calendar, there are about 260 working days in the year. In the Paulian Calendar, there are just 240. Nice.

Here it is. Sorry it doesn't fit nicely here!

January February March April
Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su
 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30

May June July August
Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su
 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30

September October November December
Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu Th Fr Sa Su
 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30 25 26 27 28 29 30

Extra Days: 1 2 3 4 5 (6 Leap Day)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Growth

I've noticed that fingernails and toenails grow at different rates. If you trim them on the same day, you'll have to trim your fingernails next time sooner than your toenails. I wish they would stay synchronized.

Same thing with hair. It grows at a different rate too.

Shouldn't everything grow at the same rate? After all, it's coming from the same person.

Tune in next time when we discuss drying paint and growing grass!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Names

Wouldn't it be cool if we used the Greek names for the planets, instead of the Roman ones? For some reason, I've always liked the sound of the Greek names better.

Here are the names of the planets, the sun, the moon, and some other objects:

Greek Roman

Hermes Mercury
Aphrodite Venus
Gaia Earth (Anglo-Saxon)
Ares Mars
Zeus Jupiter
Cronus Saturn
Ouranos Uranus (already Greek)
Poseidon Neptune

Helios Sun
Selene Moon

Eris (already Greek)
Hades Pluto
Demeter Ceres
Hestia Vesta
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Metric System


Here in the U.S., we do not use the metric system. Instead we use inches, feet, yards, miles, ounces, pounds, ounces (different ones!), cups, pints, quarts, gallons, degrees Fahrenheit, acres, etc.

I hold a terribly unpopular view, which is that we should be using the metric system.

Back in the 1970s, we all prepared to go metric, but it fizzled out. The only remnants of that effort are that soda bottles are sold by the liter, and everything is dual labeled: 15 fl. oz. (444 mL)

I don't think anyone has a good reason for avoiding the metric system. Sure, it would be inconvenient for a while as various industries changed over. But every nation on Earth managed to do it, and they all survived just fine.

Instead, I sense an "us vs. them" mentality. Somehow, if you advocate a position that is in line with another country's, you are decried as anti-American or un-Patriotic.

It's strange that in a world that is becoming more closely knit together (since the rise of television, satellite communications, the Internet, and social networking), Americans are working harder and harder to distance themselves from the rest of the world, all in the name of Patriotism.

(Wow, that turned into quite a ramble. I didn't expect to go from the metric system to Patriotism!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vacation

My vacation's over! New posts should resume shortly.

We spent time at my brother-in-law's in-law's beach house in Loveladies, NJ. Although there was a heat wave back home, with temperatures in the low 100s (38°C), at the beach the sea breeze kept the air temperatures in the mid 80s (30°C).

This picture is a late afternoon view at low tide. The tides have carved a "cliff" in this section of the beach. At high tide, all the sand to the left of the cliff is underwater.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Two gogyohka

Here are my contributions to Tina's gogyohka party on July 1, 2010.

A genie gave me a wish
but I gave it back
I already
have
you

We chat
As I watch the summer moon rise
And you watch it set
Earth separates us
Moon connects us